From Pimento to Pepto - Masters Round-up

By: Elisa Gaudet


by Elisa Gaudet

While my colleagues at the major news outlets have long ago summed up the emotional and physical prowess of the players during the Masters, those of us on the lighter side of golf writing "fluff" columns just finished savoring the effervescence of Alka-Seltzer.

Elisa and Dan Laz

The Masters is so much more than what is seen on TV and while it has been said many times and in many different ways you really cannot fully appreciate the magic of the Masters until you attend it. Nothing else does it justice and perhaps Jim Nance says it best "A tradition unlike any other." Apart from the perfectly manicured grass on the fairways and putting greens, landscaping that rivals even the most stunning Japanese botanical gardens, and the best golfers in the world contending for the honor of wearing the green jacket, there is a lot more outside the ropes.

Some of the things that you won't see on TV are: A Masters snack unlike any other - the famous pimento cheese sandwiches sold at the concession stands for $1.50 to this Northerner it tastes like cheese whiz in white bread, but others love it; and the Azalea cocktails (one part lemon juice, one part lime juice, one part pineapple juice, three parts gin and one part Grenadine) sold in the clubhouse area "under the tree," if you are fortunate enough to get in that area. There are an army of helpers in jumpsuits, similar to the ones the caddies wear only yellow, to keep the course tidy.

'G-Mac' at the Annual GWAA Dinner

Another detail not shown on TV is the lines for the men's bathrooms. Given this predominantly male skewed event, they are outrageously long - much worse than the lines for Space Mountain at Disney during the height of season. No trip is complete without a few souvenirs from the merchandise tent. It may set you back a few bucks but this brand is more elusive than Gucci or a Birkin bag. So what prompted one patron to pimp the Pepto Bismol -pink Masters look? Perhaps he's a spokesperson for Susan G. Komen; too many azaleas or afraid his friends would lose him in the crowd.

Outside the gates of Augusta National on the streets surrounding the course a number of homes are converted into hospitality units complete with anything from outrageous buffets, cocktails, cigars, putting contests and chair massages. Basically, if Bubba Watson was on the driving range and did a quarter-turn to the right and hit a driver his ball would land on the roof of a hospitality house.

Once off the course some fan favorite hot spots include a visit to the Waffle House for grits, TBonz - the unofficial official 19th hole, or Surrey Tavern for the sounds of live R&B and rock bands that play nightly. During the week of Masters the golf universe converges in Augusta, the Golf Writers Association of America holds their annual awards dinner where the prom king and queen are crowned, otherwise known as Players of the Year. This year Graeme McDowell, Yani Tseng and Bernhard Langer received the awards. As well the PGA of America, equipment manufacturers and other organizations host their own forms of hospitality ranging from deep -fried turkey to home-cooked dinners to tented backyard extravaganzas.

The private jets lined up at the Augusta airport resemble a Mercedes dealership and it is not uncommon to see all types of celebrity figures in town enjoying golf. Andy Roddick caddied for friend Zach Johnson in the Par 3 Contest on Wednesday, then walked the course with buddies the next day to spectate. Lynn Swann and Taylor Hicks attended the fabulous party NetJets hosted for high-flyers, where everyone participated in a Q&A with Butch Harmon, Ian Poulter, Dustin Johnson, Graeme McDowell and Nance. For almost any golfer there is jubilance and ecstasy that surrounds the Masters as if the very sport itself was on steroids.

Nance & Butch Harmon at the Netjets Booth

The Masters is Disney for adults. As you walk through the gates and it is pure fantasy. Here the world is perfect. The back nine on Sunday can best be equated to the Wizard of Oz during the final part of the Yellow Brick Road before they get to the ever elusive Emerald City. "Here Dorothy meets some memorable friends and foes in her journey to meet the Wizard of Oz, who everyone says can help her return home and possibly grant her new friends their goals of a brain, heart and courage." Perhaps Tiger is Dorothy wanting to return home and we can pretty much figure out who the Tin Man, Scarecrow and Lion would be.

Sign for Pimento Sandwiches at the Masters

Going to the Masters is like going back in time as you can still get a sandwich and beer for $3.50 and, given there are absolutely no cell phones, you actually have to rely on interpersonal skills. No contact with the outer world of stock quotes, wars, economic downturn, deals to be made, mortgages and kids. Just a place where the fist-pump rules and the sound of crowds roaring across the emerald green expanse signals a little birdie has landed.

Elisa Gaudet brings a wealth of entertainment and golf experience to Cybergolf. Elisa has spent the past several years in the golf industry in the U.S., Latin America and Spain. She worked for the PGA Tour and the Tour de las Americas before founding Executive Golf International, a golf marketing company that works with clients to develop strategies using golf as the medium. Often referred to as the Maria Bartiromo (a business analyst for CNBC) of golf, Elisa says: "Golf, as a marketing tool, has been around for years. It's amazing how many new ways companies can align their brand with the golf market to reach their target audience. Our goal is to create alliances and establish cross-border relations." Elisa also worked in the entertainment industry for over 10 years, including five in Los Angeles as a model and actress. She can be seen at many celebrity golf events and often gets the inside scoop from PGA Tour players. For more information about Elisa, visit her websites at www.onthelip.com or Executive Golf International www.execgolfintl.com.

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